An editor and/or editing service assists an author to communicate with an audience. This can mean as little as checking that all parts of a publication are present and that the spelling is correct. Or it can mean completely restructuring information and changing the style and tone of the language to make it more accessible to its audience, while simultaneously commissioning illustrations and composing preliminary pages.

All the tasks an editor may undertake are directed towards enabling an author to reach an audience via the publishing process.

Writing better

What Copyeditors look for at manuscript stage

  • correct grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • appropriate narrative, voice, plot, pace, characterisations, dialogue, readership, title, length and presentation
  • consistent style (including the publishing house style where applicable)
  • factual accuracy (in terms of internal consistency at least)
  • accurate citation of references and a complete and compatible reference list
  • correct illustrations, suitably placed
  • mark-up for the designer and typesetter
  • collation and checking of proofs
  • completeness (including preliminary and end-matter)
  • preparation of additional copy (running heads, blurb and cover copy)
  • coordination of copyright applications and acknowledgments
  • adequate recording of key decisions (for the publisher’s files).

A good editing service does much more than simply practice the principles of copyediting. But these things, though very important and necessary, can mean very little if you do not look at the language in which the manuscript has been written. And one of the prime elements is the suitability of the language for its intended audience. An editor has to consider this and, if this is not appropriate for whatever reason, to take whatever steps may be necessary to improve it.

Evaluating the language of a manuscript means, basically, judging whether it is appropriate for its purpose and whether it will communicate most effectively to its intended readership. Things that are assessed include:

  • tone and its effect
  • register (informal, standard or formal register)
  • cultural sensitivity
  • racial discrimination
  • gender discrimination
  • attitude
  • addressing an audience

Author – Editor relationship

Editors need to understand that they are dealing not only with the manuscript but with the person who wrote it. And of course authors are not just ‘minds’, a pile of manuscripts; like everyone else, they are judgmental, vulnerable and emotional. The job of an editor is to help the author produce the BEST POSSIBLE MANUSCRIPT. This is a process that calls into play an editors tact, patience, guile, persuasiveness, and resourcefulness.

I can help you during any stage of the editing process. Find out more about our editing services.

Written by Michele Perry